Bears Host Cal Tournament Friday, Saturday
|Team Notes||Live Stream (Friday)||Live Stats Linked Below||Tickets (Friday)|
BERKELEY – California volleyball (3-2) will compete at home for the first time this season on Sept. 9-10 as it hosts the Cal Tournament, concluding its slate of tournament play at Haas Pavilion as conference matchups rapidly approach.
Sept. 9 will feature matches against Utah Tech (3-1) at 12:30 p.m. PT and Tennessee State (1-4) at 7:00 p.m. The Bears will finish play with a match against Nevada (3-3) the next day, Sept. 10, at 2:30 p.m.
This will be the first-ever meeting between the Bears and the Trailblazers, as well as between the Bears and the Tigers. Currently, Cal holds a 12-4 series record with Nevada, including a 3-0 sweep of the Wolf Pack in last year's Cal Tournament. Nevada currently ranks seventh in the NCAA with 39.13 team attacks per set.
Following the Utah Valley Tournament last weekend, juniors Lydia Grote and Tara DeSa were named to the All-UVU Tournament Team. The former leads the Pac-12 in points (108.5), points per set (5.71) and kills per set (4.79), while the latter ranks second in the conference in digs per set (3.95).
"This past weekend, I thought the team improved on consistency in our execution of the game," said head coach Sam Crosson. "Both of our middle blockers were more involved offensively, which is great to see; Tara (DeSa) also had a solid weekend with her passing and defensive plays - those stats are trending upward, which will certainly create more quality series for us.
"Overall, it was great to see our team respond after the loss on Thursday and hit for one of our highest and most consistent offensive efficiencies we have had so far this season," he finished. "We'll be looking to continue to improve in our consistency with serving, receiving, passing and floor defense this weekend."
Tickets will only be required for Friday's matches.
Junior Lydia Grote has posted a fantastic start to the season, accumulating 91 kills across 5 games for the Pac-12's second-highest total thus far. She is currently ninth in the nation with 5.71 points per set, a figure which leads the conference. Grote also leads the Pac-12 in points (108.5) and kills per set (4.79), earning All-Utah Valley Tournament Team honors after her play last weekend.
USA VOLLEYBALL TAKES NOTICE
Juniors Lydia Grote and Leah Schmidt participated in the 2022 USA Volleyball National Team Open Program on Feb. 25-27, scoring invitations after stellar sophomore seasons. Grote's 2021 campaign included a 21-kill game (vs. Utah, Oct. 17) and a 15-kill, .344-hitting percentage outing against Washington State (Nov. 11). Schmidt, meanwhile, was named to the 2021 All-Tulane Tournament team and subsequently posted the third-most kills on the team (200) during the season as one of Cal's most prolific players.
Sophomore Annalea Maeder looks to build upon a fantastic freshman campaign in which she took over the role of the Bears' starting setter. The 2021 team leader in assists (701) and double-doubles (8) also posted 205 digs and 30 kills on the year, as well as 29 total blocks. In her young sophomore season, she recently recorded a career-high 52 assists and 14 digs in the Bears' Sept. 2 win over Northern Arizona. Cal volleyball's lone international student-athlete is also a star in the classroom, majoring in molecular environmental biology, and participates in a student-run business consulting club whose clients include various Fortune 500 companies nationwide.
This year, Cal brings in four highly-touted prospects from around the country to help bolster its squad. Middle blocker Mikayla Hayden (Buford, Ga.) was one of the best high school players in the state of Georgia, posting over 1,000 kills in her career in addition to 2 state championships and several All-Region and All-County nods. Fellow middle blocker Sophie Scott (Portland, Ore.) earned her way onto multiple State and All-League teams, while outside hitter Peyton DeJardin (Pasadena, Calif.) reached Third Team All-American status in 2021. Setter Natalie Lau (San Francisco) rounds out the group, coming off a season where she earned a spot on the All-America Watch List and the All-WCAL First Team.
The Bears have five juniors on their 2022 roster, which makes up over one-third of the roster. The dangerous duo of Grote and Schmidt only show part of the picture - other returners include team digs leader Tara DeSa (278 in 2021), Kendall Jensen (200 assists) and Sam Taumoepeau (81 kills), all of whom improved greatly upon their freshman campaigns and look to continue their upward trajectory this fall.
FULL TOURNAMENT SCHEDULE (All Times Pacific)
Friday, Sept. 9 (All matches streamed on Pac-12.com)
Nevada vs. Tennessee State – 10:00 a.m. (Live Stats)
Utah Tech vs. California – 12:30 p.m. (Live Stats)
Utah Tech vs. Nevada – 4:30 p.m. (Live Stats)
Tennessee State vs. California – 7:00 p.m. (Live Stats)
Saturday, Sept. 10
Tennessee State vs. Utah Tech – 12:00 p.m. (Live Stats)
Nevada vs. California – 2:30 p.m. (Live Stats)
For complete coverage of Cal volleyball, please follow the Bears on Twitter (@CalVolleyball), Instagram (@calvolleyball) and Facebook (Cal Volleyball).